Tuesday, August 25, 2009

USC Thornton School of Music to celebrate 125th Anniversay

Shining the spotlight on itself, the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music, the oldest continuously operating cultural institution in Los Angeles and one of the oldest and most illustrious music schools in the country, celebrates its 125th Anniversary in grand style with the party of the century (and a quarter) on Thursday, September 10, 2009, 5:30 P.M., at USC's Town & Gown.

With toasts bubbling forth and music flowing, the dazzling celebration spotlights USC Thornton's remarkable 125-year history, its leading role in the music industry and its focus on the future. The free event for friends and family of USC Thornton as well as community leaders features delicious cuisine, signature cocktails and a wide array of musical performances by the school's outstanding musicians. A performance of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique by the USC Thornton Symphony, conducted by Carl St.Clair, in Bovard Auditorium caps the festivities. Attire is business casual.

“This is a momentous milestone for a storied institution,” says Rob Cutietta, Dean of USC Thornton. “USC Thornton - which was founded long before the birth of the region's film and recording industries, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera or any of the Southland's other leading music ensembles or cultural institutions - is truly the cornerstone of culture in Los Angeles. Since its inception in 1884, the school and its acclaimed faculty and alumni have played a pivotal role in the music industry internationally. In marking Thornton's 125th Anniversary, we will reflect on the school's illustrious history, and, in the true spirit of USC Thornton, will look ahead to the next 125 years and plans to help ensure it will continue its cutting edge leadership role.”

The University of Southern California's Flora L. Thornton School of Music, generally regarded as one of the premiere music schools in the world, offers a unique combination of innovative programs such as popular music performance, recording science, and scoring for motion pictures and television, which stand alongside the more traditional programs in classical music, opera, jazz studies, composition and research.

Blending the rigors of a traditional conservatory-style education with the benefits of studying at a leading research university, USC Thornton offers students an unparalleled music education in a real-world context.

Its illustrious alumni and faculty have been awarded countless Grammy and Academy Awards and serve as leaders in all facets of the music industry. Celebrated alumni include pop great Herb Albert; film score composers James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith and James Newton Howard; TV/film score composer Bear McCreary; composer and Presidential Medal of the Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen; acclaimed conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Grant Gershon; opera stars Marilyn Horne, Rod Gilfry, Jessica Rivera and Erica Miller; and esteemed classical guitarist Christopher Parkening.

In 1999, philanthropist Flora L. Thornton became the school's benefactor with a naming gift of $25 million, at the time the largest such contribution to an American school of music.

In addition to marking Thornton's 125th Anniversary with an unprecedented 125-day celebration of concerts and special events, USC Thornton administration has used this milestone as an opportunity to carefully position the school so it continues its leadership role in the coming century by rolling out several new undergraduate majors and graduate programs - including a popular music performance program, the first at any university in the country - each of which reflect the school's unique time in history and location in Los Angeles. In addition, the school has also added significantly to its endowment and is acquiring several buildings on the USC campus that will be used for instruction and rehearsal purposes.

For more information on the USC Thronton School of Music, please call (213) 740-6935 or visit www.usc.edu/music.

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